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Grabbing Readers And Hanging On

Authors use all kinds of phrase that means the same thing. Grab the reader, hook the reader, create a page-turner, or write a keeper. Obviously all of these phrase mean an author wants to engage readers to the point that they can’t put down the book and once it’s finished, they can’t let it go. […]

Looking Again At Setting And Its Many Uses

I was asked to do an article for the ACFW Newsletter. The article is concise and covers things I’ve talked about before. Setting is sometimes the neglected element that’s used for sense of place alone and not always used in a creative way that will add so much more to your novel.  Check out this […]

Part VII Suspense – Setting and Atmosphere

Besides a sense of place, the right kind of setting offers the reader an atmosphere conducive to creating tension. Certain settings bring established mental images of frightening settings or ones open to danger. Think of a rundown farmhouse, a lonely cabin in the woods, a Gothic mansion, a hospital ship, an abandoned building, a park […]

Outlining #3 – Setting that makes a difference

From the list of screenwriting techniques from the Gideon Media and Film Festival, the third technique you can work with to enhance your story is using setting to make a difference in your story. 3. Setting should be specific and used to deepen characterization and conflict, not just a place to plop characters. Setting influences […]

Research For Contemporary Fiction — Part IIIA

Though it might seem that contemporary fiction is not as complex to research as historical, it is still important and can take much time depending on the novel’s plot. While some elements are commonplace and easy to research, the novel’s setting can still require time-consuming research. Because I believe that setting influences a novel’s plot […]

What about brand names and real places?

Recently, writers have asked questions about read places and brand names, and I decided to share the information with you rather than keep them hidden in comments on the blog. Question:I am in the process of writing and publishing my first children’s novel. I have been dabbling with a second book as a sequel, but […]

Setting: Beyond A Place

Readers want to have a sense of place instead of having infamous floating head conversations. Setting lends authenticity and a sense of place, but it is more than naming a the city or state or describing a room or building. Setting includes weather, month, year, time of day. An author can accomplish this task in […]

Setting: How do you handle using a real location for a novel?

In my last blog, I encouraged you to send questions that you’ve often wondered about or issues that you’re dealing with in your work in progress. I’m still eager to hear from you so please leave a comment with your question or email me at and I’ll add your question to the topics I’ll […]